Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights March 2020

Friday, May 4, 2007

COINTELPRO tactics and spying bolstered by Patriot Act

Photo School of Americas Watch
The United States' School of Americas training handbook is declassified. The handbook, used to train Latin military, recommended torture and the targeting of civilians, resulting in the torture and murder of masses of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas. Women were raped and children murdered, as lands were seized for U.S. and multi-national corporations. Those who organized to hold onto their lands were tortured, their labors exploited. The situation continues in Mexico, Central America and South America.
The handbook is online at:

Declassified FBI Files Reveal Years of Surveillance of SOA Watch by FBI's Counterterrorism Division
May 4, 2007
Resource Center of the Americas

The Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond

ACLU and School of the Americas Watch filed for documents; FBI blacks out information, refuses to declassify some pages

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia last week released new evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is conducting counterterrorism investigations into School of the Americas Watch. As we’ve seen time and again when the FBI targets social change organizations, the files demonstrate a clear attempt to stifle political opposition. In the released documents, the FBI noted that “the [SOA Watch November vigil] has grown dramatically over the past several years.” The FBI elevated its concern to “priority” level and subjected SOA Watch to “counterterrorism” surveillance. The Bureau monitored the media attention that the annual November vigil and the trials of people arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience received, and agents noted which court tactics had chilling effects on people’s decisions to participate in civil disobedience.Nothing in the FBI files justifies counterterrorism as a basis for the spying. In fact, the FBI never identifies any criminal activity outside of public civil disobedience, and they consistently describe the SOA Watch Vigil as “peaceful.”
These files unmask the political nature of the actions of the FBI, an agency that has a long history of being used as “political police,” targeting groups in the United States who are working for social change.When congressional investigations, political trials and other traditional legal methods of repression failed to counter the growing movements of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, the FBI moved outside the law. They used secret and systematic methods of fraud and force, far beyond mere surveillance, to sabotage constitutionally-protected political activity.
The purpose of “COINTELPRO,” the FBI's domestic counterintelligence program, was, in FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's own words, to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit and otherwise neutralize" specific groups and individuals.
The FBI’s targets in this period included the American Indian Movement, the Communist Party, Black Nationalist groups, and many social justice activists, including Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez.According to Brian Glick, in War at Home, COINTELPRO used a broad array of methods, including infiltration; psychological warfare from the outside (false media stories, forged correspondence); harassment through the legal system; and extralegal force and violence (in the case of radical Black, Puerto Rican and Native American activists, these attacks, including political assassinations, were so extensive, vicious, and calculated that they can only be accurately called a form of official "terrorism").
But COINTELPRO tactics are clearly not a thing of the past.
In September of 2005, 72-year-old Filiberto Ojeda Rios, a leading figure in the fight for Puerto Rican independence, was killed by the FBI in a raid that coincided with the Grito de Lares, the annual pro-independence celebration of the 1868 anticolonial revolt in Puerto Rico. Ojeda Rios was wanted by the FBI for his role in a 1983 bank heist. (Click here for more info).The death of Ojeda Rios and the spying against SOA Watch – and many partner peace organizations like the American Friends Service Committee and the Thomas Merton Center, as revealed by other ACLU filings – illustrate the dangerously vague, politicized and expanding definition of "terrorism" employed by the Bush administration.
Instead of responding to political opposition with political means, the U.S. government is responding to it as a threat. This same type of mindset responds to Latin American protests against social inequalities with the training of repressive militaries at the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC).When military action is the default solution for any problem abroad and the FBI is being employed against social justice activists in the United States, it becomes vividly clear that none of us are safe.
The actions and values of the U.S. government are out of alignment with the majority of the people of the Americas.Now is the time when it’s more important than ever that we build principled alliances with other social change organizations and build stronger ties with fellow movements for justice. Together we can overcome the racist system of violence and domination to work towards a culture of justice and peace.
This article was originally published by the sources above and is copyrighted by the sources above. We offer it here as an educational tool to increase understanding of global economics and social justice issues. We believe this is 'fair use' of copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. AMERICAS.ORG is a nonprofit Web site with the goal of educating and informing.

Related articles:
Denver police spy files on American Indians and peace activists:
For decades, Denver police intelligence officers kept secret spy files on American Indians and their supporters, including American Indian Movement leaders and members, attorneys of the Native American Rights Fund, former South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk, Wilma Mankiller, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, historian and author Vine Deloria and supporters of Leonard Peltier and Navajos resisting forced relocation:

Canada's draft counterinsugrency manual named Mohawks with international terrorists and recommended ambuses and assassinations:


Priests arrested at Fort Huachuca to speak on torture:
Come to a talk by Fr. Louis Vitale and Fr. Stephen Kellyin Tucson on Thursday evening, May 17
at Southside Presbyterian Church, 317 W. 23rd (1 block south of 22nd St. at 10th Ave.)
6:30 pm potluck (please bring a dish to share) 7:30 pm talk
Fr. Louis Vitale, a Franciscan priest, is an Action Advocate for Pace e Bene, co-founder of the Nevada Desert Experience and SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience.
Fr. Stephen Kelly, a Jesuit priest, has served time in prison for his participation in several Plowshares direct disarmament actions. In December, 2005, he served as chaplain for Witness to Torture, a delegation which marched through Cuba to the gates of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
They will talk about the U.S. role in torture, Fort Huachuca & U.S. interrogation tactics, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the School of the Americas and their upcoming trial.
On June 4 or 6, Fr. Louie Vitale and Fr. Steve Kelly will stand trial in federal court in Tucson on charges of trespass and failure to obey an officer's orders for their nonviolent witness on Nov. 19, 2006 at Fort Huachuca. They attempted to give a letter to the post commander of Fort Huachuca because of the leading role that the Fort has played in the development of the manuals advocating torture used at the SOA and current interrogation techniques being used by the Army.
Sponsored by Tucson SOA Watch and the Nuclear Resister.

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